Historic engravings on rocks uncovered due to decreasing water levels in the Amazon during a period of dryness.
Ancient depictions of human faces and other forms carved into stone, dating back 2,000 years, have been uncovered along the banks of the Amazon River. This discovery comes as a result of a severe drought in the Brazilian area, causing water levels to drop to record lows.
The ancient carvings on the rocks at the Rio Negro shoreline, found at a dig site called Ponto das Lajes, depict animals and other natural objects.
The markings are believed to have originated 1,000 to 2,000 years ago, according to researchers.
The engravings were first observed during a harsh drought in 2010, when the water levels of Rio Negro fell to 13.63 meters, the lowest they had ever been.
In recent weeks, they appeared again, with additional markings being revealed as the water levels continued to decrease. This is happening during a particularly dry period, which is being attributed to the El Niño weather phenomenon and the warming in the North Atlantic that is connected to the global climate issue. The Rio Negro has dropped below 13 meters for the first time, reaching a depth of 12.89 meters on Monday.
In addition to human-like facial features and illustrations of water, certain rocks exhibit grooves that imply the location was also utilized for creating stone implements.
Carlos Augusto da Silva of the Federal University of Amazonas identified 25 groups of carvings on a single rock which he believes was used as a whetstone to sharpen various instruments. “This was an area for the preparation of tools,” the archaeologist told the local news site Amazônia Real.
There are reports of fragments of ancient ceramics being discovered at the location, which was once inhabited by large Indigenous communities before the arrival of Columbus.
The Ponto das Lajes petroglyphs, although recognized as an archaeological site, have not been thoroughly examined. Instead, scientists are approximating their age by comparing them to similar rock carvings found in other regions of central Amazonia.
According to archaeologist Filippo Stampanoni Bassi, these sites, now considered archaeological sites with dark soil, abundant pottery pieces, and carved rocks, hold valuable information about the Indigenous history of the region and should be treated with reverence by current residents of Manaus.